Forsyth Futures Staff

Adam Hill, M.S.

Executive Director

Adam received a Master of Science in Neuroscience from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Binghamton University. Adam’s previous work experience was in the Office of Sustainability at Yale University serving as a research assistant. He is currently performing the data management and research responsibilities for The Forsyth Promise – a community-wide education partnership focused on improving outcomes for children and students from birth to career. In addition, Adam oversees the organization’s work in support of similar data driven initiatives within the community, such as Imagine Forsyth and the Age Friendly Forsyth. He is committed to working in communities and transforming research and data into action that will yield positive outcomes for children and families.

Elizabeth Perkins Lees, M.P.H.

Director of Data and Research

Elizabeth holds a Master of Public Health in Behavioral Science and Health Education from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wake Forest University. Elizabeth also completed a certificate program in socio-contextual determinants of health while at Emory. Her research projects for Forsyth Futures include studies on homelessness, kindergarten readiness, electoral participation, access to health care, and poverty.

Tyler Sparks

Communications Director

A Forsyth County native, Tyler grew up on his family’s farm, just south of Winston-Salem in a small community called Arcadia. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Tyler received a bachelors degree in Creative Writing, with concentrations in poetry, design, and publishing. In college, he was active in student media, serving as a writer, reporter, editor, and graphic designer for both the student newspaper and creative magazine, and served in his last two years as Editor-in-Chief.

After college, Tyler’s first job title was Webmaster and Graphic Designer. Since then he’s worked for agencies, start-ups, tech incubators, non-profits, and himself. He enjoys complex work that creatively bridges communications, data, strategy, and design. He has a passion for building social capital in community and received an ECHO Award from the Winston-Salem Foundation in 2015 for his role as co-founder and President of Sustainable+Ardmore, a non-profit community garden, focused on creating place-based hands-on learning experiences in the Ardmore neighborhood.

Tyler joined Forsyth Futures full time in January, 2018. He believes in Forsyth Futures’ mission and the ability of objective information to impact quality of life outcomes on a local level. In his capacity at Forsyth Futures, he also provides communications support to The Forsyth Promise and the Asset-Building Coalition.

Megan Grigg, M.A.

Senior GIS Analyst

Megan Grigg holds a Master’s degree in Applied Geography from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a background in geographic information science (GIS). Megan has worked within both local government and nonprofit settings, using mapping science to inform a wide variety of projects across many sectors, such as transportation and law enforcement. She has a particular interest in the spatial aspects of data analysis and is passionate about producing action-oriented information that can inform community decision making. At Forsyth Futures, she plays a critical role in bridging the worlds of data and communications, helping to make sure that Forsyth Futures’ reports are accessible, engaging, and action-oriented.

Jessica Cannady, M.S.

Community Research Analyst

Jessica provides data and research support for community-based research efforts. In her capacity as a research analyst, she engages in relationship building, and opportunities to work with local groups to identify useful data points in support of action- and advocacy-oriented efforts.

She believes in the importance of data in all unique forms, as well as the vital role of relationship building and co-creative processes in all levels of Forsyth Futures’ work. She has over seven years of experience as a research assistant, with concentrations  in survey development and implementation, manuscript writing for publication, and practical experience in counseling and domestic violence survivor advocacy and supportive services.

At the core of her work, Jessica seeks to operate from a perspective of equity, recognizing opportunities for organizational development and accountability as a whole community. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys organizing around social justice issues related to mental health wellness, as well as  housing affordability, quality, and access. She enjoys reading, dancing, and experimenting with new dishes and desserts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, as well as a Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Theresa Hoffman-Makar, M.P.H.

Age-Friendly Forsyth Project Manager

Theresa Hoffman-Makar joined the Forsyth Futures team in July 2016. She currently serves as the Data Analyst for Age-Friendly Forsyth, a collective impact initiative that focuses on addressing issue and need areas of adults aged 60 and older in Forsyth County. Prior to her role with Forsyth Futures, she has held positions within two major health systems in this area, Cone Health and Novant Health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies with a nutrition minor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), as well as a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in community health education from UNCG. Additionally, she is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and a Certified Health Coach (CHC).

Theresa grew up in Forsyth County. She is very passionate about helping others, particularly aging adults and people with special needs; her brother is hearing and visually impaired and has been her source of inspiration. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband (John), daughter (Mia), and dog (Delila). Her hobbies include running, winning FitBit challenges, binge watching shows, crafting, and shopping.

Shane Orr

Data and Research Analyst

Shane comes to Forsyth Futures having held diverse roles within the public sector. While in the Army, Shane mapped the socio-economic conditions within Iraqi and Afghan villages. He then entered the policy and legal fields as a policy analyst for a state legislature and a staff attorney for a state trial court judge. Prior to joining Forsyth Futures, he worked as a data analyst for Elon University School of Law where he statistically modeled predictors of academic success.

Shane’s experiences in the public sector convinced him that in-depth insights often arrive through data, and his desire to help deliver those insights brought him to Forsyth Futures. In this role, he helps build a stronger community through data-driven decision making. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law, a masters of science in data analytics from Penn State University, and a bachelors of science in economics from the University of Central Arkansas.

Arleatha Patterson

Community Engagement Coordinator

Arleatha Patterson is a native of Winston-Salem and earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Winston-Salem State University. At WSSU, she hosted daily radio shows and served as a radio announcer and program director for the station. She also served various roles at RAM-TV including Feature News Anchor  for RAM Community Events, Camera Operator, and Production Director. During her college career she begin her internship with Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN) as a Communications Specialist and Community Organizer. She began canvassing communities, speaking with residents, and sharing concerns with stakeholders and elected officials. She also joined the marketing committee with NBN and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Neighbors In Action leadership training initiative that continues to train residents in community engagement and asset based community development.

After graduation she begin a career in banking, ultimately becoming the Community Liaison for Wells Fargo in Advance, North Carolina, where she learned firsthand that residents needed to be connected to community resources in a more impactful way. She transitioned to NBN serving several major roles as a Community Organizer, Facilitator, and Program Coordinator for several key programs. She initiated and managed the community resource, Timebanking, that has become a successful tool for communities, businesses, and institutions to maximize community engagement. Through training of residents and a city-wide marketing strategy, she grew the initiative to become sixth in the nation and 10th in the world.

Arleatha currently serves as an IMPACT council member for United Way Place Matters Initiative, and Treasurer for Triad Restorative Justice. She is also a member of Housing Justice Now coalition, and PIVOT of Forsyth County, as well as former Board Chair with Hoops4L.Y.F.E., an after school and summer enrichment program.

Arleatha currently serves as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Age Friendly Forsyth through Forsyth Futures and brings a wealth of knowledge around community engagement.